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Been a While…

I haven’t posted on my blog in months, a lot has happened.

Firstly, the podcast I worked really hard to create was bowled over by a couple of over zealous co-hosts. I had a vision of a short-form podcast with a quick punchy delivery. However, it didn’t work out that way.

Five episodes in, dozens and dozens of films discussed, 5 episodes filmed, hours and hours of footage edited- uploaded to YouTube and the audio podcast was now out in the ether. We were slowly growing but then what I was afraid of happening happened. The views were less and less, people were tuning out after 10 or 15 minutes. The podcast downloads and stats showed me no one was listening/watching these hour/ hour and a half podcasts. My health was in decline so I made a decision to quit it. It wasn’t what I wanted and no one listened to me anyway. My ideas got tossed and my input fell on deaf ears.

Not a good experience.

A lesson learned in working with other creators. Always state your intention that the project is yours, but should you monetize, it will be split amongst the contributors. I wasn’t clear enough on this so my co-hosts just took over the podcast completely and are slowly running it into the ground. TOO BLOODY LONG.

Since then I’ve been hesitant to guest on other podcasts as that experience made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. It affected my self esteem just when my body blew up with illness and pain. It’s taking me a while to get back to where I was.

It’s been several months since that debacle and six new medications later I’m still trying to pump out content. At my own pace. You can still find me on TikTok and Instagram doing horror movie reviews and other horror-related short-form content. I’m still writing movie reviews just mainly on Letterboxd now. I desperately need to update my blog with all the movies I’ve watched since my last entry.

It’s SPOOKTOBER so I’m trying to do a movie a day. I missed a couple of days due to illness and Mike Flanagan’s, The Midnight Club (which is a series) but I highly recommend it, you can find it on Netflix.

I do have two short stories in the works, illness has thwarted my projects at the moment but I will be back. Hopefully with a new story and a new podcast episode.

Bear with me.

Follow me on my other platforms

If you follow my work and enjoy my content, please consider donating through the Buy Me A Coffee link below. Content creation is my only means of income right now. Everything helps.

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Let’s Talk About The Cursed

The Cursed (2022)

Writer/Director: Sean Ellis

Gothic Horror

What it’s about

It’s 19th century France. A pathologist arrives in a remote rural village to investigate what appears to be wild animal attacks, attacks like he’s seen prior from his own village. He uncovers a sinister mystery that’s affecting the villagers. 

There are gypsies and creature effects in this one.

What I Thought

Normally, I don’t care for period pieces, a lot of horses in this one. People riding horses, Neighing horses, flaming horses. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. The story flowed nicely, the acting was good, starring Kelly Reilly (Eden Lake), Boyd Holbrook (Narcos; The Predator) and Alistair Petrie (The Terror). The pacing was great, the movie starts off with a pretty intense action packed scene, and the writing was well done. Definitely not a slow burn. It’s been a while since we’ve had a nice gothic horror story like this and you can definitely sink your teeth into this one. 

I enjoyed the mythology aspects, the intensity, and there were some really well done brutally gorey scenes. After basically attempting a genocide of the locals, the gypsies place a curse on the wealthy villagers for taking their land. It’s no ordinary curse. 

Let’s just say, you’re going to have to mold some large silver bullets for this one.

Final Thoughts

4/5

If I had to complain about anything in this movie, it would be the lighting. It’s often dark, foggy, outside at night, or indoors by candlelight. Although this adds much to the tone of the movie, it also makes it hard to see at times. The creature effects were pretty exceptional. Not your typical hairy beast. It was much more frightening, almost self-aware. It was also nice to see an original story again in the theater. Not a sequel or prequel, just a brand new story.

I enjoyed the acting and there are a few scenes that’ll leave your eyes popping and jaw agape. This is a classic Gothic horror story with a sophisticated edge. Scary where it should be and beautifully eerie. Definitely worth the watch. 

Where to find it

Theater release, not on any streaming platforms just yet.

Photo: IMDB

Have you seen The Cursed Yet? Thoughts?

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Horror Horror Fans Horror Films Horror Movie Reviews Horror Movies Movie Reviews

Let’s Talk About X

X (2022) Ti West

Written/Directed/Produced by Ti West

Distributed by A24

What it’s about

A group of twenty somethings set off to film an adult film in rural Texas, renting a location from elderly couple – Howard and Pearl. With dreams of stardom and celebrity, the crew of six begin filming their movie only to learn that something is terribly off about Howard and Pearl. 

Mia Goth (Suspiria 2017) plays a double role in the film. Maxine Minx, the porn actress AND Pearl, the old lady. This was the best part about the movie- her duality. It wasn’t until after the film that I realized it was the same actress portraying both characters. The team of six are determined to make the most artful and successful pornography film ever, truning them all into massive stars. With RJ at the camera helm with his artsy direction, girlfriend Lorraine (Jenna Ortega- Insidious: Chapter 2) on audio, Wayne (Martin Henderson- Little Fish 2005) the hot shot producer and the stars; Jackson, a former marine, Bobby Lynn,a southern seductress and Maxine.

What I Thought

If Boogie Nights met Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Only instead of Leatherface we have a creepy, horny old lady.

Although a decent slasher, it wasn’t perfect for me.

I DID like the practical effects, the gore scenes and the sheer amount of blood used in this movie.

I did NOT enjoy the pacing, waiting until almost two thirds in before it really picked up. I also found a lack of character development, so I had a hard time feeling any real empathy or connecting to any of the characters, other than Pearl. 

You feel bad for Pearl. A former dancer and beauty queen, she’s now stuck inside her senior body, not able to do the things she once loved. Like, making love to her husband for example. Howard has a bad heart so their physical connection has dwindled making her feel extremely lonely and empty.

Seeing the young crowd of “filmmakers”, creepily watching them perform their scenes through windows, awakens a visceral spark inside, turning this meek old lady into one brutal killer.

I loved all the gore once it started rolling. Some fantastic makeup and special effects. LOTS OF BLOOD. The soundtrack was also pretty great considering the film takes place in 1979. 

The only outstanding performance in this movie for me, was Mia Goth. 

Final Thoughts

3.5/5

I think it could have been better. If only we just cut out one or two of the many sex scenes to explore the characters more. Although it was refreshing to see a brand new Slasher flick that WASN’T a remake, it didn’t deliver for me like I had hoped. It wasn’t as tense as I expected, and I didn’t love it. A decent watch but don’t go in with high expectations.

Where to find it

In theaters.

Photo: IMDB

What did you think of X?

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Let’s Talk About The Privilege

2022’s The Privilege

Directors: Katharina Schöde, Felix Fuchssteiner

Horror/Thriller/Conspiracy

Germany

*Contains minor spoilers

What it’s about

It’s six months before graduation at an elite high school for the wealthy.  Finn, has suffered a life changing trauma as a child with the loss of his older sister, Anna. He’s heavily medicated, only to find out something suspicious is going on in town. There’s a few things happening here; we have a supernatural element, a possible cult, a large conspiracy, oh, and a parasitic demon fungus that’s primed to take over hosts.

What I Thought

I liked it. It started off well, no slow burns here. When you have a bunch of horror tropes in one movie it can come across as over ambitious, bordering on pretentious. However, this movie pulled it together and wove a very interesting and unique story. The young leads were all exceptional. There were some really creepy scenes and the overall ominous tone made it appealing.

Finn still has flashbacks of the night his older sister, Anna died. He’s being treated for trauma and depression with medication. He has a non-identical twin sister, Sophie who seems relatively unaffected by the passing of their sister. You also have the very Stepford-like parents who go about their days, never mentioning the death of their eldest daughter.

Finn begins seeing supernatural hallucinations and sleepwalking. His family simply write him off as being crazy. He lives a very privileged life you see, and he should be grateful he’s told, but his grandfather is also dying and he shares a very close bond with him. And although he feels something is just not right with the people around him, everyone assures him, it’s just him. It’s all in his mind.

At the same time, Finn is trying to finish high school and we have a scene of foreshadowing in biology class where the teacher is explaining fungus. Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis in particular. A pathogenic fungus that attacks insects, ants in particular. The fungus inhabits a host, takes over its body and reproduces, essentially turning the host into an unwilling zombie.

When sister Sophie, now approaching 18, the same age Anna was when she died, starts changing, Finn becomes concerned and on high alert with his best friend Lena. 

Upon closer examination of the medication Finn takes, the two discover something inside. Something moving. After confirming with their teacher that it’s indeed a fungus they track down an expert. Luckily she’s also an expert in the occult as well because THIS particular fungus?… It’s demonic.

This is where it really picks up. 

There’s a town conspiracy amongst the rich elite that they’ve been hiding for decades, almost all of the kids are being medicated, and Finn and his friends are about to blow the whole thing wide open.

Final Thoughts

4/5

I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the movie was shot really well with a pretty high production value, Also, FYI- the English dub is excellent. Some really creepy scenes, a few well done jump scares, a little body horror and gore, paired with some humor made it an exciting watch. A couple of dips but nothing to really complain about. I even liked the ending. I’d say it’s definitely worth your time if you’re in the mood for something different. 

Was this a social commentary of the overmedication of young people? Perhaps. What did you think?

“Talk to your doctor about Trychozepam today. Side effects may include: hallucinations, possession, unsightly fungal growth, a rapid change in personality, and the end to everything you thought was true.”  

Where to find it

Netflix

Photo: IMDB

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High Horror With Anya & Sam: A New Monthly Podcast

I’ve been keeping busy with podcasts as you can see from my Podcasts page.

In addition to my own podcast, Let Us In that I host with three other creators from TikTok, I’ve also teamed up with Anya Gorre from Horror And More With Anya Gorre.

Once a month, we’ll get together to review a horror movie. Last year we were going to review Anything for Jackson (2020) (You can find my review highlighted. What ended up happening is that we ABSOLUTELY lucked into the pleasure of speaking to Keith Cooper, (the writer of Anything for Jackson) directly for a phenomenal interview about the film. We learned so much about the production of the film, the Easter eggs they intentionally placed in the film, the experiences with the actors. It really was the highlight of my podcast career.

Take a listen: The post can be found here.

So we finally go together to actually review the film in all its glory!

Take a listen! ⬇️🎙️

https://omny.fm/shows/horror-and-more-with-anya-gorre/high-horror-episode-1

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X: A Movie Review with Fandom at Random

X (2022) Ti West

I Sat down with Brian from Fandom at Random and we discussed the new Ti West film, X. Episode below- and give them a Subscribe!

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Let’s Talk About Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

Director: David Blue Garcia 

Screenplay: Chris Thomas Devlin 

USA

What its about

*Contains a few spoilers 

A “sequel” to the original 1974, and the ninth film in the TCM franchise. It’s almost 50 years since the initial massacre. A group of friends, hoping to open a food truck and other small businesses to gentrify the now abandoned town of Harlow, find that it’s not completely uninhabited as promised. 

There’s still one elderly resident (Ginny) living in the run-down old orphanage. She claims to have papers of ownership from the bank and she’s the only remaining caregiver to a seemingly empty building. This ruins Melody and Dante’s launch (a busload of investors are on their way). Assuming she’s just a kooky old hanger- on, complete with a weathered confederate flag hanging outside. They begin a verbal dispute which rouses someone from the back of the building.

“I’m all he has.” She tells the group. One sole orphan to care for. The town reject that no one wanted. A hulking ominous figure moves in the background. Ginny, having been worked up in the confusion, ends up collapsing and is rushed to the hospital. Ruth, Dante’s girlfriend, goes with her and the “son” in the ambulance out of empathy. This is where it starts. The woman dies, the “son” is Leatherface and he goes berserk. 

After brutally murdering the ambulance workers, only Ruth is left alive. She’s able to quietly radio in for help stating, “He’s wearing her face.”

This prompts a call to Texas Ranger, Sally Hardesty. The sole survivor of the 1973 slaughter.

What I Thought

It wasn’t bad. The characters weren’t developed as much as they could have been for us to relate to them because frankly, they die pretty quickly. That being said, they weren’t totally unlikeable. I quite enjoyed the Sally character. Although, I wish we had more time with her and it would have been preferable to have the original Sally, played by Marilyn Burns. 

Some really exciting gore scenes in this one. Lots of blood. I even kind of felt like they tried to humanize Leatherface a little in this installment. At one point while Melody is begging for her life she apologizes to Leatherface. 

I was confused by the purpose of the character of Richter. The abandoned town’s lone mechanic (for some reason). I thought he would play a larger role than he did. It seems his only purpose was to provide the backstory where we learn Lila is a survivor of a school shooting. Another disjointed part of the story. It really didn’t add much to the movie other than the “facing your fears” trope.

I thought the pacing was pretty good, the acting was decent and I enjoyed the nostalgic connection to the original film. But I think it could have been better.

Final Thoughts

3/5

Critics are being pretty harsh on this installment. Is it the best? No, not even close. But we HAVE taken a near 50 year old horror movie and revived it for a whole new generation to enjoy. Which will no doubt prompt them to go back and maybe watch the original, or my favorite installment- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003 version. Frankly, I also enjoy seeing the Final Girls come back for that last battle. 

Worth a watch if you’re a fan of the franchise, just don’t go in with high expectations. 

Where to find it

Netflix

Photo: Paste Magazine

If you enjoy my reviews and short stories, please consider donating to my Buy Me A Coffee linked below. Every little bit helps!

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Let’s Talk About Jakob’s Wife

Jakob’s Wife (2022)

Director/Co- Writer: Travis Stevens

Horror/Thriller USA

What it’s about

Anne, played by the impeccably timeless Barbara Crampton, has been a dutiful minister’s wife for over 30 years. Her life is predictable, monotonous, repetitive and a little dull. Her husband Jakob, played by Larry Fessenden, is blissfully ignorant of his wife’s feelings. When a bizarre encounter with The Master leaves Anne feeling more awake and emboldened, than ever before. She becomes fearless, feels younger, stronger… But she must feed in order to keep that lustful feeling of finally being alive.

What I Thought

Sink your teeth into this. Within the first fifteen minutes of this movie I knew I was going to like it. It has that classic horror movie feeling. I’d compare it closest to 80s horror. A lot of action, humor, a lot of spraying blood and other fluids, and beautifully done, deliciously disgusting gore scenes. I loved it.

I liked the fact that the main character was a mature woman rather than the stereotypical young damsel. I enjoyed the dynamic, often humorous, between the husband and wife. The wife, Anne, obviously going through a midlife crisis, feeling lonely and trapped and undesired, and her happily unaware husband the minister. He’s supportive, but he takes her for granted and doesn’t really understand her anymore.

When Anne decides to visit an old flame secretly, they find themselves attacked by hordes of rats. Anne, having been bitten, and immediately regretting her actions, flees home to the safety of her mundane life only to learn it’s about to get a lot more eventful.

I loved how they played off of the sexuality of Anne. It was a nice reminder that women in their 50s are still super sexy even though Crampton has hardly aged since her Re-Animator days. The Master is enchanted by the lovely Anne and pursues her seductively much to Jakob’s horrific dismay.

I also really enjoyed the character development of Jakob, Fessenden played him superbly. His character begins as pious, highly conventional and uptight which almost costs him his marriage. When he realizes he only has a few bleak options if he wants to keep his wife AND keep her happy, it puts him in quite the spiritual pickle resulting in some very memorable and hilarious scenes.

Final Thoughts

4/5

Some good jump scares, but not too many. The makeup and effects were fantastic. The Master was brilliantly and classically played by Bonnie Aarons. It pays homage to some of the best vampires of all-time. Nosferatu and The First from Buffy the Vampire Slayer come to mind. Although the pacing was a little off initially, and the writing wasn’t perfect, it picked up and ended up being a highly entertaining watch. I simply loved the ending. 

It was a classic story told from a fresh perspective with a lot more layers that I think some critics are missing. Definitely worth your time.

Where to find it

Shudder.

Photo: IMDB

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Let’s Talk About Scream!

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett (Devil’s Due, Southbound, Ready or Not)

USA. 

Slasher/Horror/Mystery

What its about

A sequel to Scream 4 and basically a relaunch (re-quel) of the series. It’s eleven years after the last installment, and 25 years since the initial murders. The legacy characters have moved on with their lives when someone suddenly dons the Ghostface mask and targets a new class of teens in Woodsboro promising to unleash a dark secret of the past, reviving the Ghostface legend. A new team of characters must figure out who the killer is with the help of original characters, former Deputy Sheriff Dewey, Gale Weathers, and of course, Sidney Prescott.

What I Thought

NO SPOILERS – I Loved it! I’d watch this again. I think it’s possibly the best of the Scream sequels. Despite being the first one NOT directed by Wes Craven, it still had his flavor all over it. The film honored the original vision of Craven with the added bonus of a brand new storyline. I loved catching up with the original characters and seeing how their lives played out. I enjoyed watching a new mystery and chapter unfold. There was a perfect balance of humor and horror, which is part of the reason I enjoy this franchise so much. It’s just incredibly fun to watch. I was engaged and on the edge of my seat throughout. I let out a few audible “Oh No!”s, and “Holy Crap!”s. I applauded at a couple of scenes. I even found myself tearing up in a few parts. Who cries in a horror movie? 

I enjoyed watching a new cast of characters piecing together this new mystery pulling elements from previous installments. I loved the character of Mindy, played by Jasmin Savoy Brown (Yellowjackets). She was essentially the new Jamie Kennedy of the bunch, explaining the subtleties of horror movie formulas, and how “re-quels” work. They were all highly believable and engaging. I loved how they tied the original story to the new cast. It all leads back to the beginning

Final Thoughts

5/5

The very fact that the original cast members, Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox all agreed to be part of the film 25 years after the original script says a lot. Horror fans seem to be in agreement that Scream 5 delivers. It hits every nail a good horror movie needs to. It was exciting, enjoyable and just delightful to watch. If you’re a big fan of the franchise, you’ll get the update and closure you’re looking for. The directors paid homage to Craven beautifully. I think he would be proud. 

Where to find it

Currently only in theaters. After that, you’ll be able to stream it on Paramount+ and rent it on Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes and YouTube.

Photo: IMDB

*I also write short fiction. My short story, The Buck, was recently published with Horror Addicts. You can read it here.

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Let’s Talk About Raw

Raw (2016)

Writer/Director: Julia Ducournau

France. 

Body Horror/ Coming of Age/Drama

What its about

A different kind of coming of age movie. Two sisters, Justine and Alexia, are attending Veterinary school, the same school their parents attended. This is Justine’s first year. After having been raised vegetarian, the young freshman gets a taste for meat, boys and flesh. 

What I Thought

After watching Titane (2021) I was intrigued enough to check out some of Julia Ducournau’s other work. I kept hearing about Raw so I finally sat down to watch it and I was exceptionally impressed. 

This film is full of symbolism so don’t take everything at face value. That’s the beauty with Ducournau’s writing. One could argue that the real subject here is not actually cannibalism, but rather, becoming a woman. The changes in your body, in your mentality, noticing and feeling the consequences of your actions and coming into your carnal sexuality. Justine develops lustful feelings for her dormmate and best (gay) friend, the handsome Adrien, which result in some very memorable scenes. Hauntingly poignant scenes. Scenes you won’t soon forget. 

Ducournau takes a different approach to this taboo subject. It’s not gory for gore’s sake. It serves purpose and the focal point is not on the actions themselves, but rather the characters’ reactions to the horrific things happening around them. 

Yes, it’s graphic. That being said, it’s done exceptionally well. Having watched other cannibal genre films I can honestly say, this is far superior than others. It has a well written and engaging story. Watching the controlled straight “A” Justine slowly lose control of herself as the film progresses was harrowing. The immersive atmosphere, the flawless performances of both the female leads, Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf, the impeccable writing of Ducournau, and the subject material will hook you in even if you think it won’t. I didn’t pause this movie once. I found myself enthralled in the story, biting my fingers, (no pun intended), mesmerized by the lead actress, and feeling real empathy for Justine. Whenever she did something shocking or horrific, I wasn’t disturbed, instead I found myself feeling intense compassion for her. 

The relationship between the two sisters gave me real Ginger Snaps vibes. Essentially one cannot exist without the other, even if they’re slowly destroying each other. The relationship itself was raw and visceral. Alexia, the older of the two, resents Justine’s brilliance and the fact that she’s the favorite daughter; at the same time she holds intense love for her and wants to help her. 

Final Thoughts

5/5

This is one of those movies you won’t easily forget. That’s what I’m beginning to love about Ducournau’s work. It’s evocative, moving and just hauntingly beautiful. The ending of the film ties the whole movie together in a shockingly scandalous manner. My jaw literally dropped. Exceptional writing and exquisite acting mixed with a unique twist on the coming of age trope makes this a standout in the genre. Everything you’re looking for in a horror movie. Go back and check it out!

Where to find it

Crave, Starz, Apple iTunes, Google Play, YouTube.

Photo: IMDB

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